By Brittney Ryan
Love weaves its way between the minutes and hours that bind us, only to emerge in the timelessness of the moment.
Princess Holly was the first child born in the Kingdom of Forever, where she came of age surrounded by the great thinkers and artists who had, over the centuries, crossed from the mortal world to hers. She stood frequently before the gates of the Land of Forever, and read to herself the legend carved upon them—“Love Conquers Time”—and felt herself drawn to the world beyond them.
Perhaps it was destiny that drew her to the Empire City, where soot dirtied the snow and the wind cut through the walls of the tenements at night; but it was the clock that drew her through the doors of Carroll’s Curiosities, for beneath it were the words Love Conquers Time. Inside, the shop floor was hushed. She began to search for the enigmatic toymaker, Mr. Carroll.
Absorbed in her quest, she did not hear the quiet footfalls behind her. She did not feel the dark eyes watching her. It was not until his hand touched hers that she realized he was there. He was not what she expected, but a young man with kind eyes.
“I’m sorry,” she began, breathlessly. “It is like magic to me—the words on the door. Did you make it?” And then she thought of something. “What is your name?” she asked urgently.
“Christopher Winter Carroll. Why?” He smiled at her stunned face.
“Was there anything about Christmas, when you were a boy? Did you write a letter to Father Christmas?”
A curious look came over his face. “Yes. I didn’t want anything. So I asked him what he wished for. He wrote me back, too.”
“Well, I’m sure it was my mother. The letter said that I had given him a gift he would treasure for eternity. And at the bottom of the letter, he wrote, ‘Love Conquers Time.’”
“Do you still have it?”
He looked at her quizzically. “Yes.” He reached into a small compartment beneath his worktable and pulled forth a faded letter.
Time collapsed. The handwriting on the worn envelope was her father’s. Holly could hear King Nicholas’s rich voice unfurling the old tale: “There was a boy named Christopher, who lived in the Empire City and sent me a letter. He asked me if there was anything I wished for. And do you know what I wished for? I wished for you, Holly. You are my greatest gift.”
She gazed up into Christopher’s gray eyes, her certainty growing with each moment. Her heart was pounding. That’s why she had been drawn to the shop. It was her destiny. He was her beginning and he would be her eternity.
If you want to live forever, fall in love.
Art – Laurel Long, Editor – Kate Samuels